This is not your school's summer reading list

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars

By John Green
Young adult
Dutton Books, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2
Awards/recognitions: * #1 New York Times bestseller * 
#1 Wall Street Journal bestseller *
 #9 The Bookseller (UK) bestseller * #1 Indiebound bestseller *
 New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice * Starred reviews from Booklist, SLJ, Publisher’s Weekly, Horn Book, and Kirkus

Okay, look: The Fault in Our Stars is a cancer book. It’s also a hilarious, gut-wrenching, and beautiful story of romance between two young people who have a zero tolerance policy for bullshit. If this novel doesn’t win the Michael L. Printz Award, I don’t know what will.

Seventeen and addicted to America’s Next Top Model, Hazel is battling thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs. She is well aware that there is no cure for her disease – only a way to prolong her life and keep her comfortable. Turns out, none of that gets in the way of friendship or falling in love with a handsome bone cancer-survivor named Augustus.

I’ll admit that Hazel and Augustus can be a bit too prep school precocious as characters. (Seriously, not many kids quote sonnets to one another – or use the word “alas.”) But what is irresistible here is their razor-sharp assessment of dying young. Better still, in Hazel we have a young woman at her most physically frail emerging as a force you’ll remember long after the last pages.

John Green takes what most of us think of as a worst-case scenario and gives us a story that somehow still celebrates life. He captures the spirit of being young and doing anything – including dying. MM

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